Thursday, January 31, 2008

BBC interviews of Doris Lessing --

Why do people stop (writing?)

Love letter to Kenya --

Famed Three Pagodas Pass on Burma-Thai Border

Rambo in Burma --

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Of interest -- U.S. policy towards Burma in next administration?

I am against war in any circumstances -- I am just posting this for informational purposes. I have no idea if the claims made here are true or not.

Only time will tell.

As regards all other postings too, my posting them on this blog does not necessarily mean I agree with everything others write.

Kyi May Kaung

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Misguided, ugly and plain bad "restorations" in 11th century Bagan in Burma --

She should not have donated her $20

My upcoming art show "Splash, Drip, Pour" in Ubud, Bali.

I am going to have an art show in Ubud, Bali (place where famous anthropologist Margaret Meade went) -- titled "Splash, Drip, Pour,"

at Mandala Desa and perhaps Dragon Fly Restaurant, first week of March.

U.S. housing crisis --

Monday, January 28, 2008

Cold blast greets Year of the Rat in China --,prtpage-1.cms

China plans rail link to central Asia for oil --,prtpage-1.cms

Game Theory Application -- interesting suggestion

to treat Burmese monks' crisis of 2007 as a 2 player game.

This writer/scholar is the only one so far who has seen the 2007 crisis as a call for systemic change --

as he says "the latest straw that broke the camel's back."

Kyi May Kaung

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Fatal miscalculation: Saddam faked having WMD --

Saddam Hussein faked having weapons of mass destruction, which the U.S. used as basis for launching second Iraq war --

special agent who spoke with Saddam on 60 Minutes.

Two Burmese monks arrive in Bangladesh after almost 2 months of travel

Poetry of the Argentinian disappeared --

They could as well have been written by Chileans, Burmese or others living under dictatorships.

Indonesian dictator Suharto dies at 86

Suharto dies at age 86 --

only needs to die once but may have caused deaths of 1/2 to 1 million Indonesians.

Burma is amping up the arrests and telling Gambari "Don't come till April."

Weight loss story --

Saturday, January 26, 2008

77 year old Burmese journalist and political prisoner 18 years in prison and still counting --

Is this civilized behavior?

After the hernia operation, he most likely will be back in prison -- !!!!!

Friday, January 25, 2008

New Rambo movie --

Some think it's overdone,

but as a writer and someone who has studied Burma as a political scientist and an economist for decades, I think Stallone is only compacting all that has really happened into one character and one film.

I haven't seen the film yet, but even if it were a horrid film, it would still be informative about the Burmese military regime. After all, the things Stallone depicts have really been very well documented, also for decades.

It's not that Stallone is more violent. The whole world is more violent and so is even so called "normal" TV fare. So long as there's a reason for the depiction of violence.

After all, if you don't like it, don't want to hear about Burma or don't believe it, you can watch Jane Austen on Masterpiece Theatre. Don't get me wrong, I like Jane Austen stories. Everything just has a different time, place, style and purpose.

Stallone makes action movies. The genre pits bad guys against good guys. That's all.

So does Harry Potter etc etc -- that is the focus of much of art and literature.

Copyright Kyi May Kaung

Review of Lisa DiLillo's Tongues don't have Bones -- featuring poetry by Kyi May Kaung in Shout Magazine


Tongues Don’t Have Bones: A Journey into Burma
(30:00) 2001
Videomaker Lisa DiLillo's documentary, “Tongues Don¹t Have Bones”, tells of Burma in the throes of a long-running stranglehold courtesy of one brutal military regime. “Tongues” sounds no blaring wake-up call. It's not by-the-book, not on-the nose. Instead, DiLillo works with a specific pool of key words and images, letting them flow, collide and even tear at one another to reveal tumult in a nation under siege.

To get at what's real, “Tongues” focuses on that which can't be subjugated. Social indictments sprout from the small, personal anecdotes of student leaders. The savaging of national character unfolds in the words of noted poet Kyi May Kaung, now a producer with Radio Free Asia. The horrors of “freedom lost” find voice in Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, Nobel Peace Prize winner and repeated recipient of Burmese house arrest. Yet most irrepressible are “Tongues” images of Burmese rivers. The water providing life is the same water choked with the blood of civilian casualties, water that DiLillo uses as a constant mirror of all the regime would like hidden. --by Art Jones, Shout Magazine

Burmese poet arrested for "love poem."

Thursday, January 24, 2008

NY Burma Roundtable --

New "witness book" on Burma and upcoming student trip to Burma-Thai Border -- see also US Campaign for Burma.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

U.S. Economy Downturn --

Monday, January 21, 2008

"Daydream Believer" songwriter John Stewart dead --

I had a CD with Ann Murray singing Daydream Believer, but I gave it away.

Here's a mature Ann Murray singing with Anne Furtado in a new version --

Rambo movie set in Burma --

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Protein staves off hunger -- (if you can afford it in the 3rd and 4th worlds)

Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs --Nicholas Burns retires --

He recently wrote an op ed on Burma.

European Financial Sanctions Against Burma -- as of April 27, 2008, from Bank of England site --

Note: These were renewal of existing sanctions on 27 April, 2008, that is before the crises of Aug-September 2007, the crackdown and the escalated sanctions.

If anyone knows any more about these individuals, the nature of their business etc, please leave comments on this blog.

Your comments will not be published.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Blogsites in Burma Blocked --

New posting: Burmese Regime and Poverty -- video by Lisa DiLillo with poetry by Kyi May Kaung

Looking at this slightly different cut, I realize how true the words of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and U Bo Hla Tint are,

even though this was recorded a decade ago.

I wish that things would improve in Burma, so our words would go out of date, but they have not done so.

Copyright Kyi May Kaung

Hong Kong billionaires with close ties to China --

Sly Stallone chose Burma rather than Afghanistan as setting for his new movie Rambo.

I'd do the same -- partly of course because I am from Burma, and the Burma issue needs all the publicity it can get.

The politics of Afghanistan is too complex to show perhaps in a movie, and there are splendid books like Khaled Hosseini's A Thousand Splendid Suns and the Kite Runner.

Kyi May Kaung

Sundance -- Sellers' market --

but how to get/make the 3-4 m Indie movie?

That is the question.

K. M. Kaung

U.S. Economy: Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke says "juice the economy" quickly --

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Heritage Foundation on Burma

Italian Director to make movie about Burma's Aung San Suu Kyi

"Movie will be in English, the language Suu Kyi was educated in and speaks at home."

Monday, January 14, 2008

Burma gems boycott working --

Outsourced Wombs by Judith Warner

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Quando m'en vo (When I go alone) from Puccini's La Boheme --

Pucinni's Oh Mio Babbino Caro (Oh -- My Dearest Daddy)

And we continue our Saturday afternoon opera series with:

Maybe a bit overacted, but the singer is too lavish and ravishing, and this is the best of 3 versions, one by an aging Maria Callas, that I listened to on You Tube.

For lyrics, Google.

Short translation: "If I can't have him, I will throw myself off the bridge."

Kyi May Kaung

La ci darem la mano (There we will entwine our hands) from Mozart's Don Giovanni --

Here's the version I like best:

Note the soprano (Christine Schafer's) uncertain and nervous white left land on her red dress, and the male lead's expression, suitable to how a practiced seducer might look.

I watched the next version first, but like it a lot less.

And here is the reason why:

In this version, it's the woman who is having to "act up" to the man, who is as expressionless and wooden as a mafia godfather.

As the roles are reversed in this staging, it feels terribly forced and unnatural, goes against the grain of the story and the lyrics and music and is more like "Romancing the Stone" than as Don Giovanni attempting to seduce Zerlina. And succeeding at the end.

(What a relief to blog about something other than Burma.)

Copyright Kyi May Kaung

Mother and Son, on the run -- The Sarah Connor Chronicles --

We first met her in Terminator I

Burmese mothers, especially the mothers of the disappeared and the detained, the dead and the dying children, will be able to relate to this.

Kyi May Kaung

Thursday, January 10, 2008

What constitutes plagiarism?

To my mind, the two passages are too similar, down to wording and sentence structure as well as "tone" and point of view.

"Mirroring" and "re-writing" are specifically prohibited legally -- by the "end notes" one often finds, for instance, in news dispatches.

In my short foray in journalism at a Burmese language radio station, I tried to impress on my colleagues that you have to cite everything.

Otherwise it is plagiarism, whose meaning is -- passing off someone else's words or ideas as one's own.

I notice that sometimes interviewers do this --

but it needs to be prefaced by at least a phrase, "I read that ---, is this true?" Earlier you said that --"

It's born, I think, of vacuity and a desire to show off. I'm glad such software exists.

For instance, unless copyright has expired, or it's a folklore story, like say Beowulf, even taking a title of a poem, or re-casting a familiar story in another form (derivative work) -- requires permission and or (if in small parts) citation. Or paying the estate of a dead poet, for instance, for permission to use the title or phrase, even though titles are more murky.

I notice in journalism catchy titles are often lifted -- e.g. The Longest Day. But things can be accidents without malicious intent, such as the man who titled his autobiography Burmese Days, which is of course the title of the famous novel by George Orwell.

Check with an intellectual property lawyer. I used to think colleagues who were phobic about sharing pieces for critiquing in writing groups by email, were paranoid, and say, well, "put your copyright notice on it," (especially if the work was not that polished or good, excuse me!)

but then a famous writing teacher and a couple of screenwriters told us in class they had had entire screenplays and a movie option stolen and one of them is suing, so there are lots of unscrupulous people about.

What annoys me is friends who ask to read your work, then treat the manuscript cavalierly. Before they get it, they are panting in your ear -- then --

"We posted it back, we never received it, etc etc." One rich businesswoman was so cheap she did not post it back to me, and I only sent it to her because she said she would put on a charity performance to further the democracy cause in Burma, and my work had a "Burmese theme." I would have sent a SASE but she was in Europe. Besides, she was rich enough.

For all such people, a pox on you and your writing and your devious callous ways.

May you never get published or if published, be sued for large sums of money and lose your case. May your name be mired in mud.

A Burmese poet told me that in his cafe circle back home, there was someone who specifically wrote curses.

And a lawyer told me to always, "Put that little 'c' with a circle round it on your work."

Google "copyright."

Copyright Kyi May Kaung

Slap on the wrist two weeks suspension for anchor who made "lynch" remark of Tiger Woods --

Quote from Rev. Al Sharpton,

"Lynch is a racist word."

A young Burmese woman told me that a classmate spat in her face in grade school in California. She said she had not even told her parents this, but was telling me because I was only a casual acquaintance.

A young Burmese man told me in the pizza joint where he did pizza delivery as a student, they called him "rice head."

Remarks like these are not "humor," or if "humor" are a perverted racist "humor."

I dropped someone who remarked "Why don't you change your name to King Kong?"

He was of German origin and I should have replied, "Why don't you change your name to Hitler?" but I did not. I am not good at thinking of quick and smart repartees.

But I can avoid such fools. As my grandmother said, "If a healthy dog bites a rabid one, who do you think is hurt more?"

K. M. Kaung

Bearing Witness: The art of Daniel Heyman and Fernando Botero

I knew Daniel Heyman in Philadelphia a decade ago. We were planning that he design sets and costumes for my play Shaman, but soon after I got the radio job and moved.

I am so happy to know that his career has taken this important "turn." Or rather, like most artists, he is now doing the work he was meant to do all along.

I missed the Botero exhibit at American University. At the time, as I was not too well, it felt an effort to go out in the cold and see these paintings and drawings. Now, of course, I wish I had made the effort.

I can "see" the paintings on line, but it cannot be the same as seeing the originals, all together and life size and bearing witness together.

Copyright Kyi May Kaung

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Si Thu -- Driving for Burma --

Long time Metropolitan Museum of Art Director will retire --

Haven't been to NY since 2001, but many happy visits can be timed by the time line at the Met.

Van Gogh at Arles was a biggie.

Ross Dunkley buys into Cambodian newspaper,25197,23023897-7582,00.html

Monday, January 07, 2008

Kyi May Kaung -- Burma Update: After the Saffron Revolution

Burmese Monk at Senate Hearing on Religious Freedom, Rayburn Building -- 2007. Photo copyright Kyi May Kaung

Dr. Kaung’s Salon

Friday, January 11, 7:10-8:00 pm

Burma: After the Saffron Revolution

Join Dr. Kyi May Kaung for a discussion of the situation since the violent crackdown last year on protests led by Buddhist monks and of how to participate to bring about meaningful change in Burma. This month marks the 60th anniversary of independence from Britian.

Born and brought up in Burma, Dr. Kaung is a leading analyst on Burma (now called Myanmar). During the crisis this summer, she wrote several articles in Foreign Policy in Focus and The American Prospect, and was interviewed by BBC, CBC, RFA and others.

Free and open to the public.

at Kefa Cafe, 963 Bonifant St. Silver Spring, MD

7.10 PM to 8.30 PM

Jan 11th, 2008 Friday.

Walking distance from Silver Spring metro and free parking on Wayne Av.

Other events -- see Kefa Cafe Blog

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Pitch panties for peace at Burmese junta --

already over a million hits.

For variation you can also pitch copies of the constitution at Presdt. M. of Pakistan.

Better than live ammunition any time.

No one dies.

Return to business as usual in "Myanmar?" Jan. 08 Update.

I am re-posting this interview with BBC Hardtalk from early October 2007, so that Burma Watchers like me can assess what has happened and what has not 3 months later --

1. ASEAN back slid. As a cartoon by the brilliant Harn Lay of Irrawaddy -- see

depicts, the Burmese junta, the bad guy of the group, yelled "Yahoo!" and pulled all the other ASEAN members down the slippery slope with them.

2. The sanctions by the USA have been very focussed and very effective.

3. India is changing its tune and is no longer going to sell arms to Burma.

4. On the human rights front the arrests and oppression of the Burmese people, including monks, continues. There is widespread worry especially for Ashin Gambira, the monks' leader, and other political prisoners. With the exception of Amnesty International, activists are not very active on this.

5. The international media has moved on to Pakistan.

Copyright Kyi May Kaung.

Dickensian -- The Wire on HBO --

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Famous "Shaolin Monks" performing in USA

See Wikipedia for disambiguation --

the performers on tour are not ordained monks.

The PRC government has not allowed the real ordained monks to travel overseas since a number defected.

Some troups are not affiliated with the Shaolin Monastery.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Aging, obesity, sleep disruption and diabetes risk --

Burma: Three Months of Quiet Repression and Arrests --

from Reporters without Borders --

It never ends --

Burmese (Karen) Refugees in Chicago --,1,5443037.story

NYTs book review of J.M. Coetze's latest novel --

Would the reviewer have written the same if the writer were a woman?

My archive at IISH, Amsterdam--